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Copper thieves continue to strike

copper_wireSchools are not immune. I recently wrote about an Oklahoma district hard hit by thieves taking or gutting…

Copper theft continues to escalate across the country. Churches, doctor’s offices, retail businesses, and government facilities are all targets. And schools are not immune. I recently wrote about an Oklahoma district hard hit by thieves taking or gutting air conditioners for the copper inside the units.

As the price of copper hits new highs almost daily, the Fort Worth Independent School District has fallen victim to copper thieves. The district recently had to replace damaged air conditioners on nine campuses at a cost well in excess of $100,000. The self-insured district, like nearly all others in the country, is strapped for cash.

With students returning for the fall semester and Texas temperatures still hovering in the 90s and above, there is no way the district can postpone the repairs.

Again, there are tools to help schools protect themselves from these expensive crimes. Cameras, motion detectors and photoelectric beams can all help deter copper theft. The investment can be far less than the cost of repairing or replacing multiple air conditioning units.

Don’t wait until there is a problem to act.

PatrickFielPatrick Fiel is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.

Follow Patrick Fiel on Twitter.

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